Fulfill all the requirements before you schedule your private pilot check-ride.
The last thing you want is to fail your private pilot practical test because you were not ready.
Before scheduling a flight with DPE, you must be aware of multiple private pilot check-ride requirements.
Figure out if you are eligible for a check-ride or not.
Don’t let this happen when you are in the airport for your check-ride to find out that you lack a few hours of solo cross-country flight requirements.
The scenario is uncommon but it doesn’t mean it will not happen to you.
Check each of the following questions with a “Yes” answer means you meet the private pilot check-ride requirements.
- Do you have adequate flying hours?;
- Are you done with the FAA knowledge test?;
- Have you mastered the essential flying skills and the complicated ones?;
- Does your flight instructor think you are ready for a check-ride? Do you have an endorsement from your flight instructor?;
- Go on a cross-country flight using VFR charts and a bit of radio navigation;
- Did you have a mock check-ride with your CFI?;
- Can you answer any questions the DPE asks you during your practical exam? Learn to ask why something happens and what is the correct answer with an explanation of the why.
These bullet points are by no means a must for all student pilots. Instead, use these points as a checklist to determine whether you are ready to pass your private pilot checkride or not.
You can use the above list to identify your flaws in PPL flight training and boost your oral exam confidence.
Let’s discuss this elaborately further in this article. I broke down the checklist into two sections.
SECTION 1: Standard check-ride requirements you must satisfy to schedule a flight with DPE.
SECTION 2: Checkride requirements to ensure you don’t fail your oral exam.
Standard private pilot checkride requirements.
The basic requirements for a private pilot license are to be at least 17 years old and speak, write, and read English fluently.
Having a third-class medical certificate and a student pilot license is essential.
Apart from these basic requirements, individuals must meet the flight hour requirements.
Do you have adequate flying hours?
The FAA requires a student pilot to log at least 40 hours of flying time before applying for a private pilot license. However, the national average in the United States is 60 to 65 hours for a student pilot to obtain a private pilot license.
I believe a student pilot needs somewhere between 50 and 70 hours to apply for a private pilot license, not just in the USA but likely anywhere in the world.
Initially, student pilots don’t recognize the cross-country flight requirements or solo requirements.
The forty hours requirement won’t make you eligible.
- A student pilot must have 20 hours of dual flight or receive instruction from a CFI;
- These 20 hours include:
- 3 hours cross country flight;
- Three hours of night flight that include one cross country flight of 100 nautical miles total distance. Also, ten takeoffs and ten landings with a complete stop at an airport;
- 3 hours of flight training using instruments;
- Have three hours of dual flight within 60 days of the private pilot checkride.
- Fly ten hours solo, which includes 5 hours of solo cross-country flight.
- A cross-country flight over 150 nautical miles and landing at three different airports. Each airport must have a distance of at least 50 nautical miles.
- Perform three solo takeoffs and landings at an airport with an operating control tower.
By looking at the requirements, you can realize why the national average hours for student pilots are high.
It takes a while for the student pilots to combine and satisfy all the requirements, and not fulfilling the requirements means you are not eligible to apply for a private pilot license.
Therefore, before contacting a DPE for a practical exam, ensure you meet each requirement.
Are you done with the FAA knowledge test?
You can’t take the PPL checkride without passing the FAA private pilot knowledge test.
PPL knowledge test or written exam should be the first step for any student pilot. I recommend before you start your flight training, it is best to complete an online ground school and take the ppl written test.
With the written test out of the way, complete your flight training. You will also have aeronautical knowledge to ease your flight training.
Have you mastered the essential flying skills and the complicated ones?
To become a pilot, you need to master essential flying skills.
But to become a better pilot, you also must learn complicated flying skills.
Usually, your flight instructor will teach you all the essential flying skills during the pre-solo stage. Knowing the complicated flying maneuvers can aid in your flight in numerous ways.
Ask your flight instructors to teach you more challenging flight skills.
Do you have an endorsement from your flight instructor?
At this stage, ask your flight instructor if you are ready to schedule a practical exam date or not.
You have passed the knowledge test and have adequate hours, but why do you need your CFI’s approval?
It’s your flight instructor who ensures the safety and can verify whether you are ready to pass the oral test or not.
Once your performance is satisfactory to your flight instructor, he will endorse you for taking the practical exam.
Without an endorsement, you can’t take the oral exam.
So it is also essential to prove your flight performance to the CFI so that he trusts you with safe aircraft operations. Show satisfactory flight performance, and you will get your endorsement for the private pilot checkride.
SECTION 2: Checkride requirements to ensure you don’t fail your oral exam.
Now that you have your flight instructor’s endorsement to take the private pilot checkride, you must ask yourself are confident enough to pass the exam.
Many student pilots lack confidence on the check-ride day. It is common for most pilots.
Although they are experts in flying a single-engine prop, they doubt themselves and think they might fail the exam.
But go through the following checklist to ensure you know everything to pass the private pilot chek-ride.
Typically you will do all these during your private pilot flight training. However, sharpening your skills before the exam will indeed increase your confidence.
Go on a cross-country flight using VFR charts and some radio navigation.
To improve the chances of passing your private pilot checkride, be ready to use ready navigation.
You don’t know what question your DPE may ask. Thus knowing how to use radio navigation, especially VOR, to navigate a flight will certainly help.
Although going to VFR cross-country flights using VFR sectional charts is the norm, knowing navigating using VOR will help.
Likewise, many pilots know how to use a VFR chart but don’t know what each sign and symbol means on a VFR chart.
So ensure you learn a bit about the sectional charts to answer a question in case your DPE asks you any question about the symbol and signs on your sectional map.
Have a mock checkride with your CFI.
Many student pilots don’t understand the importance of a mock checkride.
But it helps massively to gain confidence for your actual oral exam.
Talk to your flight instructor and go on a mock checkride.
Most flight instructors have an idea about the DPE in your area. Flight instructors can demonstrate what kind of questions a particular DPE prefers to ask during oral exam maneuvers the DPE wants to see.
Next, you can have a flight where you will simulate an oral exam.
This simulated oral exam will give you an idea of what to expect during a private pilot checkride. After a mock check-ride, you will know how to answer your DPE while flying the airplane and pass the oral exam to obtain a private pilot license.
Be ready for any question that your DPE may ask.
Lastly, I believe the most critical requirement for a private pilot checkride is to prepare for any question the DPE may ask.
Your DPE will not ask any radical questions. Everything he wants to know is relevant to a private pilot license.
So don’t fear and read thoroughly any good book for the private pilot license.
After you read a book, often question yourself in flight about why something happens and the correct answer to that question. That way, you will remember what you read in a textbook.
Your DPE will not ask you any advance questions during your private pilot checkride. So if you know what you need to know for the private pilot stage, you will undoubtedly pass.
If you fail to answer any advance question your DPE asks, don’t think you failed the exam. Think it like this: the DPE is satisfied with your performance and wants to know how much more you know.